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Amazon boss wants it to look ‘irresponsible’ not to be a Prime member

Amazon HQ
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos wants everyone to sign up to Prime. Well, that’s kind of obvious, seeing as it helps lock people into the Amazon ecosystem and drives sales, but he wants to reach a point where not being a paid-up member looks “irresponsible.”

Related: Enjoy fast free shipping, exclusive access to movies and TV shows, ad-free music, and unlimited photo storage with Amazon Prime

Bezos was speaking to shareholders at the company’s annual get together on Tuesday, where he also outlined plans for more brick-and-mortar bookstores in addition to its sole Seattle store.

But first, more on Amazon Prime, the company’s $99-a-year deal that offers free and fast shipping as well as access to a huge library of online movies, TV shows, and ebooks. Restaurant meal delivery is also part of the service.

We don’t know how many people have signed up to Prime – Bezos speaks only of it having “tens of millions” of members – but he sure is serious about getting more on board, telling his audience in Seattle, “Our goal with Amazon Prime, make no mistake, is to make sure that if you are not a Prime member, you are being irresponsible.” Yes, he wants Prime to get so good that if you’re not handing over a membership fee for it each year, you’ll start feeling, well, a bit uncomfortable.

He said he’s keen to continue adding more features to the subscription service, though according to GeekWire didn’t go into details about what’s on the horizon. Reports emerged at the start of the week that the company is about to launch its own brand of foods for Prime members only, marking a push into perishables, though the company hasn’t yet confirmed – or denied – the plan.

More physical stores

Amazon surprised many when it opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore last November. After all, the bold move saw it joining the ranks of the very group of merchants who for a long time have been lamenting the rise of the e-commerce giant.

Located in its home city of Seattle, the company described its debut store as “a physical extension of Amazon.com [that] integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping.” The premises carries a selection of carefully curated titles “based on Amazon.com customer ratings, pre-orders, sales, popularity on Goodreads, and our curators’ assessments.”

Well, it seems like the physical-store project is going pretty well, as the CEO confirmed the company is planning to build more of them across the country.

“We’re definitely going to open additional stores, how many we don’t know yet,” Bezos said. “In these early days it’s all about learning, rather than trying to earn a lot of revenue.” Though the revenue is clearly rolling in, with the business raking in nearly $30 billion in the three-month period ending March 31, and $513 million in net income, marking its fourth-straight profitable quarter.

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